Senators Hutchison and Bond: “Time for Congress to End Moratorium on Offshore Drilling”

States Should be Allowed to Opt in, Applaud President Removing Federal Moratorium

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, and Kit Bond (R-MO), both of them members of the Appropriations Committee, today urged the Democratic-led Congress to do its part to help ease the pain at the pump for struggling families. President Bush announced his decision to lift the Executive Branch-ordered moratorium on offshore drilling today and Bond and Hutchison urged Congress to do the same:


“Families and workers across America are suffering from record high gas prices and they need our help now. The time to reverse the outdated and punitive offshore drilling moratorium has come.


“The American people cannot afford any further delay. While Congress cannot change the law of supply and demand, we can change laws that help push the price of oil higher, to the detriment of millions of Americans. Absent a comprehensive bipartisan solution to high gas prices, we intend to offer an amendment to the 2009 Interior Appropriations bill next week to remove the barriers on offshore drilling.”


Bond and Hutchison today sent a letter to their colleagues on the Committee about the need for a comprehensive energy plan. The Senators noted that 85 percent, or 574 million acres, of offshore areas off the lower 48 states are off limits to oil exploration. Experts estimate these areas contain up to 18 billion barrels of oil, enough to equal our current production rates for 10 years and more then enough to reduce gas prices significantly. The Senators put their colleagues on notice that unless immediate action is taken on a comprehensive plan to reduce gas prices, they will offer an amendment to end the federal offshore leasing moratorium when the committee marks-up the Interior Appropriations bill on July 24th.